Commentary

Adblock Blog Compares Its New Blocker To Slower Safari

Apple’s iOS9  system, coming soon, will come with an app interface that will let users block ads (and other content). News of that has freaked out the ad community, which heretofore has been able to stop ad blocking aids from infiltrating mobile devices.

That will end this month. It should be an interesting September.

The best-known ad blocker and biggest ad blocker, Adblock Plus, has been working on its own browser app, but it says, not really in competition with Apple.

Its browser is still in beta, but won’t be for too much longer. Today it posted a blog in which it compared its prototype version against the existing blocker-less Safari. It’s a lot faster in the small test the blog purports to demonstrate.

But that doesn’t mean much — even Adblock acknowledges that — because iOS9 will have the ability to block ads too. Of course, Adblock doesn’t have access to the new version.  Adblock claims it just wanted to show how much quicker sites would load using its beta device compared to what’s out there now.

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The blog is titled, “How our Adblock Browser kicks Safari’s ass,” which seems to be a pretty aggressive title coming from Adbllock, which says it’s been working cooperatively with Apple people. It expects the Apple’s app store will be selling the Adbllock product as soon as it exists, which sounds like next week.

“We are very happy and proud of these results,” the blog said, referencing a graph that showed Adblock’s much faster download speeds” and can’t wait to go head-to-head with Safari very soon when we release Adblock Browser to the App Store.”

Adbllock is actually doing two things: It is releasing the browser first, so that a user with iOS9 who opts to block ads would download that browser instead of Safari. Sometime after that, though, Adblock will release another app that would allow Safari browser users to block ads. An app for Android devices will be coming at about the same time.

Worldwide about 200 million people use some kind of ad blocking device, and with the explosion of mobile, and now, the ad blocking machinery revving up there, that number should just balloon.

“The shift to mobile usage could undermine the revenue for advertisers that used to come mainly from ads on desktop,” an earlier Adblock blog noted. “Plus, many are still trying to figure out how to get the most from mobile devices – the smaller screens hold fewer ads and the ads they do hold command lower ad rates.

“As ad blockers become more common and more popular on these devices, advertisers and publishers will be facing another challenge,” it continues. “Over the next year, advertisers, publishers and ad blockers are going to find themselves in a new arena. The prize for Adblock Plus will remain the same, of course: a non-invasive user-determined Internet environment.”

Dean Murphy, who helped develop, Crystal, one of the ad blocker add-ons for Apple’s new operating system, says he’s concerned that advertisers aren’t paying enough attention to their mobile ads, particularly as they relate to eating up data plans.

On the British Web site, Marketing.com, he advised advertisers and publishers,"Be thoughtful of what you add onto a page. Some of the sites I see have six or seven different ad networks, displaying different types of ad. Every time you add an ad network, that’s extra load time and bandwidth."

Crystal, he said, can load pages four times faster and use 50% less bandwidth, no doubt the same kind of results Adblock will be touting too. Murphy says Crystal will knock out most, but not all ads--not pre-roll, he says--but in the process,  some Web sites might not load at all.

But he said, "the majority of sites work." Good to know.

pj@mediapost.com

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